Staged homes spend less time on the market

Homes that are staged before listing spend considerably less time on the market before garnering a sale, no matter what the price range. Consider these statistics from the Real Estate Staging Association study conducted in the U.S.A. in 2013:


  • Of a total of 82 homes in this category 62 were staged prior to entering the market and sold on average within 38 days.
  • The remaining 13 homes, not staged, sat on the market an average of 97 days.

HOMES PRICED BETWEEN $500,000 and $999,999

  • 139 staged homes in this group sold within 21 days on average.
  • 24 non-staged homes took an average of 140 days to sell.

HOMES PRICED BETWEEN $300,000 and $499,999

  • 170 staged homes took an average of 22 days to sell.
  • 25 homes not staged sold, on average, at 125 days.

HOMES PRICED BETWEEN $100,000 and $299,999

  • 137 staged homes sold within an average of 19 days.
  • 20 homes not staged took an average of 127 days to sell.

These are extraordinary statistics. Equally dramatic examples from my own staging experience include a home that sold in 5 days for $10,100 above the asking price, and a home that had an accepted offer in less than a day. I sold my own home through my realtor of trust of course, a modest split entry, during an all-time low in the Halifax, Nova Scotia housing market of 2013, in two days. At the time there were numerous others for sale nearby including a larger two storey with garage on the street behind me. It sat on the market for several months, finally going for just a couple of thousand dollars more than my own. I have no doubt that, if properly staged, it would have sold much quicker and at a price closer to its true value, which was certainly much more than mine.

Obviously there is much more to property sales than simply staging, nonetheless, home staging or the lack thereof, is a common denominator in all of them. They merely serve to highlight the power and importance of professional home staging. Home staging isn’t an expense, it’s an investment, especially when compared with the loss in profit as a result of a price reduction, excessive time on the market or the necessity of holding a second mortgage if you’ve already made the move to your new home before selling your previous one.

Lighting when selling or updating

Lighting updates are a reasonably inexpensive improvements that can create an amazing difference in the overall appearance of your home. As a home stager I’m always looking at existing lighting fixtures to see if new fixtures should be considered to update the home for sale. When I’m wearing my interior decorating hat this is almost always an area that requires updating to bring a fresh new look and style to a home.

Local hardware stores are terrific sources for great lighting options that won’t break the bank. Consider updating pendant lighting over an island or the dining table overhead fixture. Under cabinet lighting in the kitchen is a dramatic possibility that costs very little to achieve. A home stager can help you pick out lighting, and some can even coordinate the installation with an electrician.

Here’s an example of a great light that was chosen for a client with an older home in the south end of Halifax. It really fit the style of the home adding elegance.

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And here is a photo from a vacant staging project where all the lighting was updated by the client shortly before listing.  Wow…love the lighting!

home staging halifax dining room

Need some help – contact me for a home staging consultation or decorating consultation. I’m here to help!

Clutter eats equity

As a home owner when you’re selling your home it’s often hard to detach yourself from your home and really look at it objectively. You’re so use to looking at your home that you don’t even notice how much you’ve gathered, or you can’t imagine how else to place the furniture. As we go through life we tend to collect or purchase things that catch our eye, or we’re handed down things from parents or grandparents, etc. Although we already have plenty, we take something new home and try to find a spot for it.

Some people feel that every wall requires a piece of art or wall decor – not the case. In fact, you’re just over cluttering and taking focus away from key elements of your room. Do you have a beautiful fireplace, but you’ve put so much on the walls and mantle that your eye really doesn’t know where to rest?

As a home stager when I go into a sellers home I’m an objective, fresh pair of eyes. I’m seeing things for the first time, and can almost instantly see how furniture can be re-arranged, what pieces might need to be removed in order to maximize the space and make it feel bigger. Often clients have too much furniture placed in each room. Having too much furniture makes the room look smaller, a vacant room on the other hand looks small. Having just the right amount of furniture makes it look larger. It’s a fine line that a home stager is really good at figuring out.

When I have clients that have several small pieces of artwork randomly placed on a wall I often take some of those pieces down during the consult so they can see the difference, and I’d say 99% don’t object…they can see the difference. Before removing a piece of art a client may be concerned about a nail hole left in a wall. I always explain that buyers won’t really notice the nail hole, they will however notice all the artwork randomly placed and clutter eats equity.

I often tell clients to think of graphic design, where white space is utilized. A good graphic designer leaves white space so it’s not too cluttered or too confusing. It doesn’t mean the space is actually ‘white’, but it’s left blank so there is focus on the key elements. The same goes in your home.

Think of your office desk…are you settled and productive when your desk is a mess? A clean, organized desk creates calmness and a home is no different. A home stager knows how to de-clutter a room and create this calmness. Buyers need to feel calmness and a get a good vibe from your home.

Remember clutter eats equity!! If you struggle with where or how to start, or what should be removed for décor or furniture call a home stager in for a home staging consultation.

Event Staging – Deputy Mayor

I had the great pleasure of working with Deputy Mayor Lorelei Nicoll to stage her spring networking event. The networking event was held at Cole Harbour Place in May in the main lobby area. It was a great event with business people from the community, parks and recreation volunteers, and other locals attending and sharing what they’re working on, and progress being made in the community.

Those that are familiar with Cole Harbour place were pleasantly surprised at the transformation. The theme was daisies so the event design included white event furniture along with some simple daisies and some lighting to transform the space into a more intimate space. Below are some photos of the event staging.

Whether you need event furniture rental, event design services, complete event staging, corporate event design expertise Staged for Upsell can help you with all your event design needs.

deputy mayor event-1

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Wedding event furniture – Bespoke Wedding Event

I had the great pleasure of being one of the collaborators for Bespoke: The Wedding Event. Claudia Habib, owner of Simply Weddings enlisted event and wedding professionals throughout Halifax to assist with transforming six rooms within the Halifax Club to showcase local talent. From furniture and décor rental companies, companies offering wedding stationery, accessories for the models, cakes, favours, event lighting, to name a few, there was no lack of talent brought together for this event. Each of the six rooms had different themes, from Irish Pub Wedding, Contemporary/Rockabilly Wedding, Winter Wedding, Regal Red & Gold Wedding, Indian Wedding, and Parisian Wedding.

I worked with Claudia directly on the Parisian Wedding room which she designed. I was one of the event furniture rental companies for this room, and I brought in furniture and décor for the bride and grooms lounging area. The grey leather tufted sofa in my furniture rental inventory was perfect – stylish and sophisticated. Other pieces such as the white tufted bench, occasional chair with French script, white throw rug and plush throw pillows and throw soften the space making an amazing lounging area for the beautiful bride and groom models within the room.

Claudia, a wedding planner extraordinaire, created a breathtaking head table and room, that any bride would die to have at their wedding

The wedding event was unlike any other held in Halifax, Claudia’s vision to create a wedding event like this to showcase local talent will be talked about for a long time! I’m very honoured to have been part of it.

To see more photos from the event click here. Or to learn more about Simply Weddings click here.

Bespoke wedding event
Bespoke wedding event – wedding furniture rental
Bespoke Wedding Event - wedding furniture rentals
Bespoke Wedding Event – wedding furniture rentals
Bespoke Wedding Event - wedding furniture rental
Bespoke Wedding Event – wedding furniture rental

The value of a pre-inspection when selling your home

Not so long ago it was strictly buyers who commissioned a home inspection as part of the conditions of an accepted offer. Nowadays the pre-inspection is moving rapidly from trend to essential for placing your home on the market. Here’s why. Placing that pre-inspection topper on your ‘for sale’ sign is an indicator of your own confidence in your product and a powerful marketing device. This doesn’t mean any potential buyers won’t perform an inspection of their own once an offer is hammered out. In fact, I would deem it a necessity. But the pre-inspection has significant value for the seller for a number of reasons.

Knowledge is Power

The ramifications involved in identifying problems beforehand go far beyond the simple knowledge a pre-inspection offers. Buyers are wary creatures. They naturally don’t wish to be saddled with the legendary ‘money pit’ and are constantly on the lookout for ammunition that will afford leverage for forcing down the price. This, of course, is as it should be in a healthy market but part of the seller’s job is to ensure there’s as little ammunition available as possible. Leave the inspection to the buyer and you may find yourself scrambling to remediate an issue within the time frame stipulated in your agreement of purchase and sale.

The period pending finalization of a conditional offer is a delicate one. This is when buyers can, for many reasons (inspection issues, financing, disclosures, etc.), lose interest or get cold feet, demand refund of their deposit and simply walk away. During the time you, as a seller, have accepted the buyer’s offer, your property has an acceptable offer and the conditions are worked off in a timely manner and as outlined in the agreement.  You may receive other and subsequent offers, however they are ‘back up offers’ so to speak and will remain so for the (unlikely) event your first offer falls through due to dissatisfaction of set up conditions. Whatever the circumstances, this is a period fraught with its own particular anxiety and stress. But discover problems beforehand, and it places you the seller in command. You can choose to fix the issues yourself or simply reveal them to any buyers along with valid estimates for their rectification. Choice is your ally.

From a buyer’s point of view, the pre-inspection portrays the seller as open and honest. It’s demoralizing to get excited about a home, place an offer and have it accepted and then discover major issues when an inspection occurs. Even the most seemingly pragmatic of buyers brings a degree of emotion to the process. A buyer who has been through this already by investing in their home inspector to find the chosen home is everything but what it seemed, or who has at some point in the past purchased the legendary ‘lemon’ will be gun shy. The enticement of a pre-inspection may be all that’s required to calm their fears enough to facilitate a viewing followed by a satisfactory agreement of purchase.

Uncle Bob

As is the case with sourcing a good realtor, having a top notch home inspector is just as important.  An inspector referred by someone you trust is a good place to start. After that, ask questions. How much experience do they have? Are they graduates of a home inspection program, do they have practical familiarity with the construction trades? Some of the best inspectors have been journeyman tradespeople, often retired from the rigours of their trade, with extensive renovation experience. They may be specialists in a particular aspect of the building trade, and are familiar enough with aspects of all other sub-trades (electrical, plumbing, carpentry and so on) that they’re capable of auditing all of your home’s systems. The cream of the crop will be ‘Peter Parkers’, possessing a kind of spider sense that will alert them to issues intuitively before they even identify the causes.

Having ‘Uncle Bob’ do your inspection is probably not a good idea, assuming Uncle Bob’s not a qualified inspector or tradesperson. Certainly it’s not going to cut it as a valid inspection you can employ as a marketing tool. On the other hand, you will encounter buyers who’re willing to have their Dad, or their Uncle Bob, do their inspection. Also not a good idea as it can open the negotiation process to a host of issues if they don’t have the credentials to back up their findings, whatever their validity. It’s essential that any agreement of purchase and sale stipulate that inspections are to be performed by a licensed professional who can be held responsible for their actions.

Whoever does your inspection note their level of preparedness. If they don’t arrive armed with the right stuff then warning bells should be ringing in your mind. I’m talking about ladders and a good flashlight, moisture and electrical meters, and a thermal camera at the very least. A proper inspection could easily take the better part of a day and will involve every part of the home and should be followed by a consult and a detailed written report of findings. Beware the inspector who breezes through in an hour, fills out a brief checklist and asks to be paid.

Get in the driver’s seat

If your realtor hasn’t already suggested a pre-inspection talk to them about having one completed. Once you’re armed with the results of the inspection you’ll have some decisions to make on whether to fix some issues or just get quotes for the buyer, however, either way you move forward you and your realtor will be in control and closing on your home should be quick and smooth.

For more tips of selling your home download my free-book The Smarter Way to Sell Your Home.

Painting trim, window and door frames for an instant update

Is your home slightly older and sporting unpainted trim and window frames?  This can leave a home looking outdated.  Some people are really timid about making the decision to paint out trim and window frames, or even doors.  But it’s amazing the difference this can make to the overall look and feel of your home.  Painting out these items can make your home look years younger!

In the example below, a fresh coat of paint was applied to the walls. The window frames, and trim as well as baseboards were painted white.  The house has a much more modern feel to it now and the hardwood floor pops against the white.

before and after entry way

In this example, the doors, trim, baseboards and crown moulding were painted white.  The flooring was also changed to a hardwood or laminate, the ballasters on the stairwell were painted white, and the walls were painted a natural tone that compliments the flooring.  This homes entry way goes from old and drabby to new with a wow factor.

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Whether you can choose to roll up your sleeves and paint it out yourself, or hire someone to do the work for you the change will be dramatic!

Listing your home this spring? Beat the rush and get your home ready now!

for sale signsThinking of listing your home in the spring? You may want to beat the rush and get at it sooner. A lot of homeowners that had their homes on the market last fall took them off for the holidays or winter season.  Most of them are planning to relist in spring, or even sooner.  Listing when there is less competition can put you in a better position to sell quickly.

In Halifax, Nova Scotia we experienced another buyers’ market last year, meaning there were more homes for sale than buyers available. 2015 will also be a buyers market in Halifax. Having your home looking great is essential no matter what time of year you list your home, or what the market conditions are – after all you want top dollar no matter when you sell! Having it look great involves de-cluttering, de-personalizing, fixing minor repairs, and sometimes adding more up to date furniture and décor to really make it stand out.  De-cluttering sounds pretty easy, but many home owners struggle with this. After all you live in your home, and you don’t really see what is in your home anymore. Determining what needs to be de-cluttered and de-personalized, how rooms are best set up, how furniture might be arranged differently to make flow from room to room better, or to make your rooms appear bigger and create focal points are all things that a home stager can help you with during a consultation. And of course, furniture and décor can be rented to put the finishing touches on the home. Having your home staged can result in a buyer rushing to make an offer because they don’t want to lose it to another buyer.

If you have a vacant home, or you’re moving from your home into another one soon, and taking all your furniture with you inquire about vacant home staging. Vacant homes elicit no emotional connection with a buyer, and buying a home is definitely an emotional purchase. Vacant homes tend to sit on the market for extended periods of time. In vacant homes rooms look much smaller than they actually are, and many buyers struggle to picture how they would arrange their furniture, or worse, question whether or not their furniture would fit in the space. If you’re carrying two mortgages because you’ve moved into your new home and your old home hasn’t sold yet all the more reason to stage your home. Staging a home may be less expensive than you think – and better than a price reduction!

Never go it alone, always use a real estate agent! Start interviewing real estate agents if you don’t already have one that you work with. Find one that you’re comfortable with that you feel will work hard to get your home sold. It’s always important to price your home right when it hits the market. Pricing it too high will just have it sitting on the market longer. Your real estate agent has access to market data to help you price your home right.

Start out strong – with a great realtor, your home looking its best with the help of a home stager, and having it priced right from the beginning. That’s a winning combination!

Let me help you get your home looking its best before you list! Your realtor will thank you for it too – after all it’s much easier to sell a home that looks great and creates an emotional connection and must have for buyers.

Call me at 902-830-3170 or email me at, I’d love to help you!

The real question is…can you afford NOT to stage your home?

A home is most often your biggest investment, and one you want to see a return on.  When it comes to selling it, some people think they can’t afford to stage their home.  The truth is, home staging doesn’t have to cost a lot.  A home stager first tries to work with what you have available in your home. Sometimes just removing clutter or excess furniture, and enhancing the flow of each room can make a huge impact.  Even just a consultation from a home stager can be very informative since it’s important to be able to see your home through someone else’s eyes.

The average price reduction is 10-20% of the listing price.  So, that means for example a home listed at $250,000 would see a price reduction of $25,000-$50,000. OUCH…you’d have to agree with me that $150 – $2,500 to stage your home makes a lot more sense.

Furthermore, some studies suggest that staged homes sell for 3-10% above asking price on average.

Hmmm…so instead of can you afford to stage your home, isn’t the real question can you afford NOT to stage your home?

Conquering your fear of colour – allow your inner Design Diva out!

I came across this great article on House Beautiful about conquering your fear of colour. It does seem that people are afraid of adding colour, or really just unsure how to do it.  Many think you should only have one colour in a room. Do you have to have just neutral beige…nope!  Even if you’re having your house staged for sale, it doesn’t mean everything has to be blah and neutral. In fact the opposite, you want to add in a little colour and contrast to make the room interesting.

There’s simple design rules you can follow – the 60-30-10 rule.  So when decorating a particular room, 60% should be the primary colour to create the overall unifying theme, then use 30% of the secondary color to create contrast and visual interest, and lastly 10% for the accent colour to provide that final touch of elegance.

Still afraid or unsure…try starting with a small room and experimenting.  It doesn’t mean you have to go crazy, just be a little brave. Try adding in some bold throw pillows into your design. Heck, just keep your receipt and try it, what’s the worse thing that can happen – you return them? Or try adding a fringe to your curtains to add some colour.

So, not quite brave enough yet, still stuck on one colour. If this is the case choose one color, but incorporate many hues.  But try letting the inner design diva within you out – you may be surprised what a beautiful space you create!

Read more about conquering your fear of colours on House Beautiful